The Government has published a factsheet explaining the new requirements of landlords under the Immigration Act 2014.
Under the highly controversial new legislation, from autumn 2014, landlords in certain arrears will be obliged to check their tenants’ right to rent in the UK, before they rent out their property to them.
Private residential property is the only sector affected by these checks, and will apply from the start of new tenancy agreements. Landlords will not be required to check the immigration status of their existing tenants.
Guide for Checking Tenants’ Immigration Status
The Home Office factsheet explains that in the majority of cases, the right to rent check “just means checking that a prospective tenant has certain documents, like a passport or a biometric residence permit.”1
Landlords are then required to photocopy these documents as proof that they have conducted the check.
Landlords are also advised that they will probably not have to contact the Home Office, however, the Home Office will offer a checking service for more complicated cases.
To begin with, the immigration requirements will only apply in one area of the UK. This place will be announced in September.
At that stage, the Home Office will provide draft codes of practice, guidance, and online resources, which will include a guide to help landlords and tenants identify whether they are affected, and how to carry out a check if they are.
The obligations may also apply in more areas from 2015.
The Home Office’s factsheet on right to rent checks says that failure to comply could result in a civil penalty of up to £3,000.1
The factsheet states that the checks will be “very simple, and in most cases landlords will be able to conduct them without contacting the Home Office.”1
They also claim that the Government will deliver a comprehensive set of services to aid landlords in undertaking the checks, including online guidance, and a telephone helpline which will provide general information, and a case-checking service for more complicated cases.1
Until the rules come into force, landlords and tenants can refer to the right to work check, which is a similar guide to the one the Government will be providing for landlords.